Since I was away at a Presbytery meeting on the first Sunday of October, we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Communion this week.
The Scripture reading for this week is Deuteronomy 26:1-11
The Sermon title is Memory and Gratitude
Early Thoughts: Can you be thankful if you don't remember? Probably not.
This passage from Deuteronomy, a common one for Thanksgiving Sunday, is not really about giving thanks -- at least not at first reading. It is about remembering. And it is about giving from what you have.
The remembering what God has done is a common theme in the stories of the Israelite people. Does that mean they tended to forget to remember? Remembering is often a conscious act, it is something we choose to do (or choose not to do). BUt if we don't remember what happens?
I am not thinking here of Santayana's dictum that those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it (though I tend to find wisdom there). I am thinking of how remembering or forgetting tie in to both our gratitude and our stewardship.
If we forget then are we aware of why we are grateful? I suspect not. If we forget the path that has led us to this point, the gifts shared and given to help us along the way, then it is easy to not express our gratitude.
ANd if we forget the gifts shared and given that helped us along the path it is easier to think that we did it all by ourselves. And then to wonder why others can not do the same for themselves.
Memory is at the base of our gratitude and our stewardship. In the Deuteronomy passage the act of remembering is intrinsically tied to the act of offering the first-fruits to God's service. Practically speaking it appears that this offering goes to feed an support the Levites (religious workers) and Priests as well as those who are in need. AS they remember they are thankful and they give from what they have received.
What memories make you thankful? What gifts do you pass forward as you remember and are grateful?